Waging A New War On Waste at MWPS
Fifteen years ago, I was waging a war against waste at our school. I had introduced paper and cardboard recycling by sneaking it into the council pickups and I was trying to introduce organic recycling by resurrecting a long-forgotten worm farm and co-mingled recycling by convincing council to give us a kerbside bin. Persistence paid off and now we have a sixteen bin waste system, fifteen of which are recycling of some sort.
The jewel in the crown is the introduction and success of our Community Recycling Bins. These are bins which the community can use to recycle objects that cannot be recycled through normal council kerbside collections. The recycling of some objects also either benefits the school or a community group/organisation.
We have in every classroom, office, specialist room and staffroom, a scrap paper box, so that paper is used on both sides before being placed in the paper recycling bin in that room. Classroom also have a green bucket for organic waste, a yellow bucket for hard plastics, drink containers, bottles and cans, a blue bucket for soft plastics and a very small landfill bin (with no bin liner). There are also green, yellow and blue mini wheelie bins outside for community use. We have a green recycling system in the permaculture garden as well.
The office foyer houses a bin for light globes, a bin for batteries, a bin for ink cartridges, a bin for mobile phones and accessories and a bin for coffee pods. It also houses a box for used pens and markers, a box for plastic bottle lids and a container for bread tags. The light globes and batteries are taken to the council, the mobile phones are sent to Zoos Victoria’s They’re Calling On Us campaign, the ink cartridges are sent to Close The Loop and the coffee pods are sent to Terracycle. The pens and markers are also sent to teracycle, as are the bread tags and the plastic bottle tops are sent to Envision for the manufacture of prosthetic limbs.
Behind our hall/gym we have a textile bin and an electronics bin for all E-waste. These are collected by SCR Recycling and the school is paid for the collections. We also run regular specialised collections for things such as dental products or bathroom products which go to Terracycle.
So from sneakily putting out a black council paper bin on the footpath once a fortnight to running a fully functional community recycling program, I’d say we are winning the war on waste at MWPS. Our new war on waste will be waged against the waste created at whole school and community events. Wish us luck!